WSC WIPA

Organize Your Finances and Disability Expenses

April is Financial Literacy Month and ABLEnow offers many helpful online resources to help you keep track of your personal finances. For example, ABLEnow offers an Expense Tracker to help you organize your Qualified Disability Expenses. With the Expense Tracker, you can:

  • add details such as dates, providers, and expense categories
  • upload receipts
  • enter expenses paid with cash
  • review expense totals

You can even download your Expense Tracker as a spreadsheet to print or save it for personal use.

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FCC Affordable Connectivity Program

The Federal Communications Commission offers an Affordable Connectivity Program to help ensure that households can afford the broadband they need for work, school, healthcare, and more. Discounts are up to $30 per household per month. Eligible households can purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from a participating provider if they contribute between $10 and $50 toward the purchase price.

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Making Mardi Gras More Accessible at Krewe of King Arthur

Dr. Rose Angelocci and her family on float at Krewe of King Arthur Mardi Gras Parade
Dr. Rose Angelocci and her family riding on float in Krewe of King Arthur

Being a member of the Krewe of King Arthur enables you to ride in one of the largest and most diverse Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans. Since its beginning, the Krewe of King Arthur has been known for welcoming people of all backgrounds and ethnicities, including people with disabilities.

For people with disabilities, riding in a parade may not seem like an obvious way to participate in Mardi Gras as the crowds may be intimidating. However, Dr. Rose Angelocci, a Community Work Incentives Coordinator (CWIC) at HDC, may change your mind. Dr. Angelocci, who is blind, has been riding in the Krewe of King Arthur since 2015 with her entire family. She was introduced to the Krewe by her friend Mary Leblanc, a long-time member and former Queen, who is visually impaired. Dr. Angelocci wants to spread the word to people with disabilities that riding in a parade can be considered a wonderful way to enjoy Mardi Gras. She points out that there are many other Mardi Gras Krewes that have riders with disabilities and the Krewe of King Arthur is just one example.

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HDC Spotlight: Ray Leger, BA, CWIC

Because October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), this spotlight has a special focus on employment. Visit the NDEAM homepage to learn how you can help build an inclusive workforce.

Donald “Ray” Leger has worked as a Certified Work Incentives Counselor (CWIC) for the Human Development Center’s Work Incentives Planning and Assistance project (funded by the Social Security Administration) since 2006.  Ray is passionate about being of service to others and has loved every minute of his role helping people understand how work affects their benefits. Today, he is Project Manager of the West South Central Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WSC WIPA) program.

Donald "Ray" Leger

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Discussions on the Future of Social Security

The Bipartisan Policy Center recently hosted a virtual panel discussion on Social Security’s Cost of Living Increase for 2022 and the Future of the Program. You can watch the recording here:

The Social Security Board of Trustees recently released its annual report on the program’s current and projected financial status, which clarified that while COVID-19 has not dramatically affected Social Security’s finances, its primary trust fund remains just over a decade away from depleting its reserves. Moreover, based on the Social Security Administration’s announcement of next year’s cost-of-living adjustment, beneficiaries will see one of the greatest increases in monthly benefits in nearly 40 years. These developments carry significant implications for how the program’s financing gap should be addressed, especially in the face of an economy and labor market still in recovery. This virtual panel discussion breaks down the key takeaways from the 2021 Trustees Report, the program’s cost-of-living adjustment for 2022, and what’s ahead for the future of Social Security.

Related to this discussion, find two attached documents: one from the National Association of County Behavioral Health & Development Disability Directors and the other from the Urban Institute. Both documents address significant and necessary reforms for the Supplemental Security Program that will reduce poverty.

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Social Security Announces Electronic Self-Reporting Forms

Social Security Administration logo

Social Security recently announced a new online service that allows disability beneficiaries to electronically complete, sign, and submit the Work Activity Report for Wage Employment (Form SSA-821) and Self-Employment (Form SSA-820). Beneficiaries may use this online service as an alternative to completing a paper version of this form. To complete the form online, beneficiaries need a valid email address. Simply click on the web links below to find the online forms with instructions.

  • SSA-820Work Activity Report (Self-Employed Person) Provides Social Security with work activity information for self-employed individuals applying for or receiving disability benefits.
  • SSA-821 – Work Activity Report – Provides Social Security with work activity information for individuals applying for or receiving disability benefits.

HDC’s West South Central Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WSC WIPA) Project

The Social Security Administration (SSA) awarded the Human Development Center (HDC) another five-year grant to operate a Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) project. This new grant expands HDC’s service area to include 33 Louisiana parishes and 21 Texas counties, which are colored purple in the map below.

Map of 21 Texas counties and 33 Louisiana parishes served by WSC WIPA.
The purple counties/parishes indicate WSC WIPA’s service area.
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ABLE Webinar: Mental Health Awareness Month and the Power of ABLE Accounts

Logo for the ABLE National Resource Center

This article appears as shared by the ABLE National Resource Center.

Join our ABLE National Resource Center (ABLE NRC) Ambassadors as they discuss ABLE accounts as a wellness tool for people who have a mental health diagnosis (psychiatric disabilities). Our panelists will share how ABLE accounts empower them to build economic resilience while promoting better mental health outcomes.

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NEW 2021 State Social Security Threshold Amounts for Medicaid Eligibility

Social Security has updated their Program Operations Manual System (POMS) to include the 2021 charted State threshold amounts used to make 1619(b) Medicaid eligibility determinations.

To refresh your memory about the 1619(b) provisions, visit the resource document on the NTDC website entitled “Understanding 1619(b)”.

Social Security’s 2020 Red Book Now Available

The 2020 version of Social Security’s Red Book (https://www.ssa.gov/redbook/) is now available on their website. The Red Book serves as a general reference source about the employment-related provisions of the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Programs for educators, advocates, rehabilitation professionals, and counselors who serve people with disabilities.